PHOENIX — The Justice Department held it's first community meeting Monday night after launching a widespread probe into the Phoenix Police Department to examine whether officers have been using excessive force and abusing people experiencing homelessness.
The virtual gathering informed local residents about the "pattern or practice" investigation, which examines whether there is a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing — and is generally a sweeping review of the entire police department.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the investigation Thursday into the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.
Final thoughts after long day re: PHX PD / DOJ:— Dave Biscobing (@DaveBiscobing15) August 6, 2021
- This is serious. Don't let city leaders' "welcoming" statements fool you.
- This is happening because leaders lost control.
- Their past reforms were instituted because of shame, exposure, pressure.
- Expect this to last years.
The probe will also examine whether police have engaged in discriminatory policing practices and will work to determine if officers have retaliated against people engaged in protected First Amendment activity, he said.
Chief Jeri Williams said last week that she welcomes the opportunity to improve her department.